SLAY + We Are The Lost And Found || Book Reviews

Thursday, 12 September 2019

*Both books were gifted as ARCs by their respected publishers. All reviews are spoiler free.

TWO BOOKS TO ADD TO YOUR BOOKSHELF RIGHT NOW

Autumn is approaching my friends. The time of cosy candles, knitted jumpers and falling leaves is just around the corner and as well as being my favourite time of year, it's also the time so many incredible books are released. It always feels so satisfying reading a book in autumn, the setting is beautiful and it only seems right to quickly whip-up a hot chocolate and grab the next coming-of-age tale you can find. Thanks to some fab publishers, I was able to get a head start on the new releases for September and October (oh la la), including these two delightful young-adult novels: We Are The Lost And Found by Helene Dunbar and SLAY by Brittney Morris. And before we dive into full reviews of both books let me just say - these books are definitely going to be added to your shopping basket in the coming season. 



WE ARE THE LOST AND FOUND by Helene Dunbar

The Story// This book was exceptionally beautiful and had a delicate and haunting tone that completely drew me in. Raw and emotional with a vivid city setting, it is certainly comparable to Perks Of Being A Wallflower in the fragile and heart-wrenching style of writing I am obsessed with. It was still unique though and a story featuring themes I haven't seen represented before - it educated me more than anything. It's set in 1980's New York when the AIDS crisis was first hitting headlines. Historically, the crisis was in full swing at this time but news coverage was just starting to gain momentum and people were just starting to properly realise what was actually happening. So mostly, the story is of Michael, a gay teenager living in New York, already having to deal with his openly gay brother Connor being kicked out of the house - the AIDS crisis is now following his every move.


This seems to be the whole driving force of the story. Not particularly the crisis itself but the idea of fear. The unknown. This drives the characters almost insane - they are desperate, wanting and working towards something. They want to own their own lives, but the media and the crisis seems to be making all of their decisions and controlling who they are. Nobody knows much about the disease at this time, but what they do know is scary and dangerous and just around the corner. I think the book perfectly captured this atmosphere of fear and painted a haunting shadow that was looming over every page. This fear infected everything in the story.

The story explores anxiety so deeply and in such beautiful, complex ways it can sometimes seem completely overwhelming and saddening - but what makes me love this book so much is the fact it isn't really about all that, it's about healing and finding out how life works and why it works like that and somehow, how we all fit into it. It's the kind of book that makes your heart swell, one minute making you all teary and weepy and the next making you feel so fulfilled with possibility.


The Characters// The characters are the reason I fell in love with this book. So well sculpted and believable I loved (or loved to hate) every character I met. They were all so beautiful in their own ways and weren't playing into overdone tropes of 'broken-home kids' and 'broken-hearted best friends.' They were so much more than cliches. Characters are my heart and soul anyway and if a book has trashy characters or a boring narrator I am GONE!!
Michael, the narrator, is just everything. In ways, he's very similar to Charlie from Perks Of Being A Wallflower but is still completely his own character. I love that moment when you connect instantly with a character and you find yourself smiling because yes, this is my new fictional best friend (ignore how sad that sounds please). Michael is gay and hiding it from most people in his life but he doesn't want to - he wants so desperately to tell people. He doesn't want to be sitting in the dark, lonely fear of AIDS, he doesn't want to live under the potential of his parents finding out his sexuality and hating him for it. He's sixteen and trying to figure out what the hell to do with his life, falling in love and dealing with just EVERYTHING. I just love him and want to give him a huge hug.
James is the eccentric theatre kid who is dramatic and existential and there is so much deep anxiety driven into who he is, but he is all wild outfits and sneaky smiles to hide it. The dynamics between James and every other character are so bloody interesting and complex - more than anything this book values friendship and James represents this.
Becky (the third friend of their little squad) is just a raging (and also hella sweet) friend who is looking out for Michael and James whilst struggling with her own life and ambitions.
Also I don't know how Gabriel (somebody Michel meets at a club), managed to become so lovable within like three sentences? And Connor (Michael's brother) was a legend with one of the best character developementssss.


The Writing// Like I've said before, this writing is BEAUTIFULLLL. There are not set chapters or quotation marks and it's written in bursts of action and thought and storytelling, which all weave together in such a snazzy way like HOW IS IT SO MAGICAL? It flowed sooo seamlessly together. I was rather impressssed.
_________________________________________________________________________________




SLAY by Brittney Morris
The Story// Similarly to We Are The Lost And Found, SLAY is one of those stories that needs to be told. Both of these books have taught me so much about so many different things I didn't even realise I didn't know, if that makes sense? This story was raw and real, something that seriously needs to be read today to open eyes, it tells the stories of characters and situations we are seeing constantly in the media that need to be publically addressed and understood by all. I know for a fact this book will be a comfort for gamers, young girls, Black people and so many more - it is a story that openly celebrates Blackness and individuality. Not only that, but this is an engaging, entertaining story with realistic characters and incredible imagery for the in-game scenes. (Also the cover is so beautiful like OH WOWWWW).


The book follows high school student and game developer Kiera who has created SLAY in an effort to create a space for Black gamers after having to deal with racism in the gaming world. With half a million users, it's a wonderful community for Black gamers to come together and be proud of who they are. But the story mostly follows the uproar from the people in and out of Kiera's life when a gamer is killed as a result of a conflict in relation to the game. Named to be 'racist' and 'thuggish', Kiera is forced to deal with the consequences of what has happened. A character-driven story (the best kind) I loved following Kiera's journey as she tried to fix everything that had become broken. The story covers so many issues, has taught me so much and will hopefully teach others so much too.


The Characters// Kiera is a strong main character who was just so relateable. She had NORMAL thought processes and wasn't one of these annoying characters that always seem to have the answers and can just handle anything without stressing out. Kiera stressed out like a normal human being. She stood her ground and had so much love for everything and everyone. She was a good egg.
Steph (Kiera's sister) did kind of steal the show though. Determined to solve every social issue in the world, she bickers with Kiera constantly, but we also saw how much they loved one another. Sibling relationships aren't written about enough and it was beautiful to see that underneath all of the madness, these sisters still had each-others backs.


The Writing// I am not a gamer. I've played the odd bit of Minecraft, FIFA, Mario Kart (for life) and mobile games, but I'm definitely not a serious gamer. But Kiera's voice is so easy to read and relate to that it made the whole book so much more immersive. Gaming can be pretty complex (I'm assuming) but everything was explained clearly (thank God), and I didn't feel like a first-time gamer.
Also I absolutely LOVED the way the book changed narrators. We moved from Kiera to gamers within SLAY, their lives and the importance of the game to them. The book just felt empowering for everyone and included everyone whilst celebrating being Black for the characters.

_________________________________________________________________________________
And there you have it - two stunning new books to add to your bookshelf this autumn! There are a million-and-one highly anticipated books coming out this autumn - let me know which ones you're most excited for in the comments! What's your favourite season?

SHOP THE POST:
43723509. sy475 43298077

READ THIS NEXT:

Lots of love,
Grace
xox


54 comments:

  1. Yay more books to add to my TBR pile ! :)

    Gorgeous post xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Both of these books sound great! I'm going to have to check them out although they're not in genres that I usually indulge in. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Kathrin! x

      Delete
  3. While I don't have experience in either of these situations they sound like interesting books to shed some light on the kind of struggles people deal with, especially that first book - thanks for sharing!

    Hope that you are having a lovely weekend :)

    Away From Blue

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for sharing these! I love reading new books when the leaves change. Need to check these out asap.

    https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have been reading so much. I will have to add a couple of these to my reading list...thanks for sharing.
    XOOX
    Jodie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love reading books! I got kindle app since may and I already read more then 50 books

    https://villemo20.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. how many new authors books I just found out) My list of references was added
    http://www.recklessdiary.ru

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fall and winter season is a good opportunity to read more. Got to check out your book tips!

    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box

    ReplyDelete
  9. After your review I want read We are lost and found. It sounds very interesting and tommorow I will search if in my local books shop. Thank you so much for sharing.

    New Post - http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2019/09/la-mer-soft-fluid-long-wear-foundation_15.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We Are Lost And Found sounds like a compelling read.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for sharing hun!
    xx- Nina
    http://www.stylingwithnina.com/2019/09/casual-outfit-idea-for-fall-leopard.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your post came in right on time! I am just searching for new books to read. Definitely will check them out. BTW fall is my favorite season too.

    Xx

    Ting
    http://www.tingnmystyle.com

    Ting

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for the book recommendations! They sound great!
    xx Elisa
    www.francinesplaceblog.com
    DIY & LIFESTYLE BLOG

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is no time when I´m not reading, but autumn and winter are definitely the best time to cuddle up with a lovely book. Thanks for your recommendations. Have a lovely new week, love x S.Mirli
    https://www.mirlime.at

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm always looking for book recommendations and I think I'd really enjoy We Are The Lost And Found!!
    xo, allie
    www.champagne-tuesdays.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love your description of how the book has you feeling one thing at one moment and something entirely different the next. I love reads that take you on a total emotional rollercoaster!!

    aglassofice.com x

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for sharing these books.
    Both of these books sounds great.
    Kisses!

    galerafashion.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Need them right now! Love a good reading afternoon ♥

    www.heresometimes.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sounds lovely!

    Carina | https://carinazz.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great book reviews, I will need to check them out.
    https://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention Grace. Coming a computer science background this book is right up my alley. Can't wait to read it. Also love this time of year. Nothing better than to cozy up with a good book.

    Xx
    Nikki
    www.nikkilivinglife.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment Nikki :)

      Delete
  22. Thanks.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh these books sound great. I wish I read more. I use to read a lot more but with migraines and TMJ which make wearing glasses uncomfortable I find I do not read as much any anymore. Though I am tempting to get through a book about a family living in Guatemala.

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw Hun I completely understand - try audiobooks!! x

      Delete
  24. We are going on a trip soon, so I've been looking for book recs! Thanks for the help!

    Shauna

    www.lipglossandlace.net

    ReplyDelete
  25. We Are The Lost and Found seems like such an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

    https://lifewithmins.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  26. Neva heard of it, will try looking it up
    https://www.stylebasket.in

    ReplyDelete